The Power of Prioritisation
Winning in the Workplace: 4 tips to owning your work day
A former colleague once told me “You’re the very definition of organised!” A grand compliment and one I gladly accept, but it did get me thinking.
What does it mean to ‘be organised’?
For me, it comes down to one thing: prioritisation.
I am constantly adding tasks to my daily ‘to do’ list as they arise, allowing me to clearly see what needs to be completed by the end of the day. I highlight what is important and tick off ✓ jobs as I go. It’s both satisfying and essential to keeping me on track.
Keeping a clear list like this fuels my motivation. I don’t like a slow work day; I like to be busy – and productively so.
To be organised is to be productive with your time, and to remain productive, you must prioritise. So let’s take a look at a few things you should be doing in your work day:
1. Add all tasks to your list – big and small
Whether it’s the menial task of emptying the dishwasher or shredding correspondence, add it to your list. It’s nice to tick off a bunch of jobs you’ve completed in amongst other more important duties as it puts into perspective just how much you achieve in a day.
2. Write down your tasks the day before
Take 5 minutes to organise yourself at the end of each day in preparation for the next morning. There’s nothing sweeter than seeing your ‘To Do’ list all ready to go first thing when all you want is to sip a hot coffee and close your eyes. It’s like having your own Personal Assistant. Give yourself a high five, say “Thanks, past me!”, and get to work.
3. Important tasks first, non-urgent second
“The printer is down and there are client files due to be printed before their meeting in 30 minutes. But it’s not on my list… I guess I’ll just quickly finish these other tasks, then fix the printer.”
Prioritising tasks is integral to a functioning team and workplace. Fix that printer, get the client’s files prepared (or if it can’t be fixed, find a temporary solution – there is always another way) then carry on with your list.
Busy workplaces rely on the fluidity of your actions. Your ability to decipher what is important and what can wait determines yours and your teams’ success.
This is a quality every recruiter looks for, but applicants almost always palm off as a “well, duh!” skill.
Communication doesn’t just mean you know how to use a phone or understand how to email. It also means you share information with your team.
It is vital to communicate any issues, delays and even triumphs with your immediate team or supervisor. For example, an upset client calls to query the status of a job. After much digging, the relevant staff member admits they were stuck on one aspect of the task 3 days ago, but failed to share this with their line manager. The job is now unlikely to make it to the client by the date required – because there was no communication.
There's no shame in asking for assistance. The most successful employees and leaders ask for help or clarification where necessary to ensure tasks are completed on time.
If you feel you are taking on a larger set of tasks than is humanly possible, speak to your manager to work out a plan of attack; this may include delegating work to staff with less on their plate, or helping you with your own prioritisation or skills/knowledge. Create a list of queries and ask the appropriate team member or manager at the earliest convenience.
By following these four tips, you’re sure to feel less burdened by an ever-growing workload and marvel at just how much you can achieve in one day.